Air Defense: Magic Wand Arrives

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January 16, 2016: In late 2015 Israel announced that it would begin deploying the first battery of its Magic Wand (David’s Sling) anti-aircraft system in 2016. This is the Israeli replacement for existing American Patriot and Hawk systems. Throughout 2015 Israel conducted several successful tests of Magic Wand. This included intercepting and destroying a short range ballistic missile and other targets representing manned aircraft. Magic Wand was supposed to enter service in 2014 but there were technical problems that had to be fixed.

In development for over a decade Magic Wand was designed to be an improvement over American made Patriot systems Israel already has. The Magic Wand missiles (called Stunner) have a longer range (300 kilometers) and better capabilities. The American manufacturer of Patriot is cooperating with an Israeli firm to develop and produce Magic Wand and will apparently adopt some Magic Wand features for Patriot upgrades.

Stunner and Magic Wand are meant to complement the Iron Dome anti-rocket system, which can take down rockets with a range of up to 70 kilometers. Iron Dome has a unique feature in which the radar system computes where the incoming rocket will land. If the rocket will not hit an inhabited area, it will be ignored. Otherwise, an interceptor missile will be fired. Stunner will be used against larger rockets that will be aimed (by Syria or Hezbollah) at large urban areas, and these will almost always get a Stunner fired at them. This is part of the Magic Wand system for defending Israelis from rocket attacks. Magic Wand is expected to eventually replace the 17 Hawk anti-aircraft batteries as well and, eventually, the six Patriot batteries. Because of the long range of the Stunner two Magic Wand batteries can cover all of Israel.

 


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